Paint It Red (coming 2017)

Feature Film starring: Laurence Fuller

Director/Writer: Paul T Murray

Produced by and Co-Starring: Chad Addison & Tommy Kijas

Cinematographer/Producer: Steven Mangurten

Supporting Cast: Sally Kirkland, Jack McGee, Randy Wayne, Ray Diaz, Jacinta Stapleton, Martin Kove, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Khleo Thomas

"Struggling artist Ciaran [Laurence Fuller] finds a duffle bag filled with a large amount of cash and is faced with some tough decisions. As bank robbers knock-off Bohemian tenants in search of their stolen loot!"

Some BTS shots

Art Director: Monika Dovnar

Costume: Paige Rentel

Makeup: Stacey Alfano

First AD: Daniel Martindale

currently in POST-PRODUCTION, watch this space!

interview

What attracted you to this project?

 

I had spent a year prior to this researching and writing the screenplay about my father Peter Fuller who was a very controversial British art critic, who passed away before his time. 

 

I painted this picture in preparation for the film and I sent it a picture of it to Paul

I’d never painted before. Though I grew up in a household of artists, my artist mother Stephanie Burns was constantly creating when I was a boy, 

Throughout my life I’ve been to hundreds of art exhibition openings in London, Sydney and now in Los Angeles, collected, traded in, made documentaries and narrative short films about, written a number 

 

 

D

 

When I sat down with Paul he oscillated between a kind of brutal pragmatist denouncing the effectiveness of Method Acting making (reference) to it as a kind of navel gazing, in favor of line delivery. And then an almost accidental high regard for acting and the process to discovering the character and the emotional subtext of the scenes. He was in part representative of the old school stand on your mark and say your line, yet the substance of his work was knit with an underlying fabric of pain, loneliness and loyalty. At one point discussing codes of honor and discourse in particular to do with the Irish heritage he proudly carries with him and in preparation to take on an Irish character, he pulled out his family crest beneath it read “Loyalty… and ….” what would have seemed to be a fleeting comment, later ended up in the film as a placemat in Cairan’s living room 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s one artist in particular I tend to go to to help with character development, wether its a philosophical idea or

 

I spoke to my mother about painting 

 

At first she told me that as an artist she always felt misrepresented in films, by the popular notion that artists are crazy, 

 

Artists are considered crazy because they deal with ideas that have a larger purpose beyond what is immediately utilitarian, the things they say and the ideas they have emirate from

 

I studied Kiefer a lot in preparation for Ciaran, as I felt Anselm Kiefer was the artist he would most desire to be, that kiefer would be an idol to him 

 

Kiefer quotes

 

I felt this because of Kiefer has the sense that he is driven in his work, motivated by unresolved memories from both his childhood and his genetic memory which causes him to leave traces in the world connected to 

 

The spiritual flux I feel we’re all going through is a kind of clouding affect our consciousness is cluttered as with the constant demand to keep up with popular culture comes a web of confused ideas that we stand as receivers intaking this sporadic unrelated stimulus. 

 

 

 

I suppose this created an inner resistance within me that came from both being in awe of the canvas, which I feel is both a necessary part of the desire to create a great painting and a hindrance to the act of doing it. It’s certainly the very same burden that certain art critics, especially the critics I grew up with carry with them, this sense of sacrifice feeds into the substance of their work, yet producers words rather than images.

 

Acting and filmmaking are a kind of rare mold of the two, there is a lot of discussion that goes into the preparation for a character if not with the director and other actors, then within oneself. Knowing how to work with oneself to reach a character takes a long time searching not only of memories in a kind of Proustian discovery but of story, of people, characters, the human condition. This cannot be done without a complex shared symbolic order of words and images and yet it cannot be left at the level of ideas. A deeply connected emotional impulse can be enough to make the scene come to life. However 

 

Words and language inform us by their existence in the first place in the script, though as the art critic John Berger said, 'words come from someplace deeper’, as actors we work from the other way around, and we’re left with this (conundrum) to discover it ourselves. Most leave it at they level they find it, and deal with matters of delivery, their work stays where it began. There are ways to access something which swims beneath the brutal logic of language, something further and more ambiguous even than memory alone. I believe memories too are the result of something deeper. 

 

It is a strange existence to carry feelings with us that are of value, to use all relationships as a kind of secret muse, which is spoken in another’s words. 

 

Perhaps why Lee Strasberg wrestled so endlessly with affective memory and Stella Adler (repelled) memory all together, because it only accounted for something, 

 

When speaking of Brando Strasberg said that the greatest actors are full of themselves and full of life itself. Perhaps the search and expansion within is to develop all the underlying faculties of the human spirit which go in to presence and being as it is confronted by and exists within the moment of the scene.   

 

Merrill Streep said that in acting we are giving a voice to those people in our past that we walk with,  

 

 

Primary and secondary functions of Language DW Winnicott Mother & Child relationship

 

 

This same primal instinct leads to the compulsion for a person to create an image instead of speaking, acting requires a behavioral aspect and an almost third eye for human behavior 

 

 

I felt that I was unable to authentically portray an artist without first putting brush to canvas, in my work on the script I had dug up 

 

So much of the film revolves around the desire to create ones own personal masterpiece and overcome the struggles that confront this lofty desire. The painting is full of the unconscious symbols that made up my dream of this film, all set in my back garden in Bath when I was three years old.

 

 

 

 

I often see people in Los Angeles running around in a strange kind of confusion as if their every affect in behavior was worthy of attention despite it having absolutely no substance beneath. I often watch and wonder where these people even find the drive to exist.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAD

 

On first rehearsals with Chad, he had this kind of penetrating aspect that would, at times step in and engage

 

 

 

 

Jack McGee

 

 

Sally Kirkland

Had the honor of working with Oscar Nominated actress Sally Kirkland today on PAINT IT RED I sat in her dressing room for an hour as she told me stories about being an actress in New York in the late 60s and 70s, when she used to date Robert DeNiro before Meanstreets and how intense he was with her during their scene for the Actors Studio, but that Lee Strasberg loved it. 

 

 

Liquored up half way through shooting after the hot tub scene Paul and I sat at the end of the table with Jacinta and talking through how the past week had gone, he offered up that I was not impressed with how he’d been directing me, I guess because it was not in line with 'Method’ ideas. Perhaps for the first time I did’t mind, mostly because I saw the reason for what he wanted me to do very clearly, when I would ask him to clarify his reasons he always knew every beat in the film and how it contributed to the whole. With this I could piece together my own inner life and I didn’t have to rely on him to feed me anything. There were occasional moments where his direction was a little too external, but he did not encroach on my ‘process’ at all, not nearly as much as he was concerned that he was. I just appreciated that he had this concern in the first place. After working with the likes of Martin Landau on his previous film Very Mean Men how could he not, Martin Landau is the current head of the Actors Studio West. Even by the sheer fact that he 

 

 

Kirby

 

 

Ray Diaz

 

 

As paul handed me the amulet 

“This is what you should wear”

The gold cross 

 

Sally Kirkland

 

 

 

                                                                                                                              

 

 

 

EXISTENTIALISM

 

What I found to be the limits of existentialism in acting, were firstly that it offers no clue into the interpretation of the character, any understanding of behavior or psychological motivations, 

It doesn’t at all come close to any Western understanding of the Modern world or of ourselves. And yet there is an element within Existentialism which has to do with Begin and sensuality that is helpful, a way to quite the intellect once all the heavy lifting in the preparation process has been done and its time to let the subconscious speak for itself through the vessel of the human instrument. But it can only ever be at the end of this process, a leaf of the tree of what is broadly termed ‘Method Acting’. In other words it might help to remember to feel the sunshine on your face and the wind in your hair but could never compensate for the (immense) importance of ‘Building A Character’ as Stanislavsky put it. Where 

 

‘The talent is in the choices'

 

And where in Road To The Well the internal struggle which manifested in touches of feeling and thought, some picked up by the camera, there was a lot that wasn’t. And while existentialism helped me to come to terms with my own separateness from the world around me, I don’t know how much that separation aided my pursuit in my craft. If I were to take on another isolated character, I may pick up Camus again, but until then he remains in my box of experiments along with Marxism, theory driven practices which may not go any further than words on a page. No doubt why such things took such vigorous hold David Mamet early in his life, the dramatist who’s scripts are better left unspoken and whose philosophy on acting is better read than put into practice. 

 

For Cairan I picked back up out of that box of experiment Stanislavsky once again, Peter Fuller (who was for two years prior priming my subconscious with the spiritual quest for art and enlightenment within the canvas) 

 

And while Paul T Murray was afraid I hated his direction which at times included demonstration, I appreciated more than he knows his willingness to communicate. What fed into me more than any literal point was a sense of comfort with confrontation, Ciaran was constantly having to set boundaries with the very same people who should have been helping him, by the end of the piece there was no-one who he did not have to confront in some sense, but this in many cases had to be done with an underlying sense of loyalty, it wasn’t to businessmen fighting like they do in LA, with smiles and pats on the back with knives taped to their cuffs, but straight to the face, don’t betray me and I’ll be there for you in the end. Be strong for me and I’ll be strong for you. 

 

And yet with Paint It Red, with Cairan’s sense of faith, he was constantly fighting for what he believed in, let nothing slip, because he knew that if he did even for a moment it would all fall apart and that dream he so carefully cherished and held onto would fall into the hands of another equally hungry LA dream chaser.

 

In many ways the film is about faith, and the fate placed in ones own hands, by a kind of providence, by a channeling of grace or by one’s own invention

 

 

 

When it came time to putting paint on the canvas my hands were shaking with the weight that had been placed on the idea of painting for my whole life, like there was a (shining light) watching me, making sure that my hand was guided by feeling and spiritual content and not with the emptiness of theory. 

 

I sketched outlines in pencil over the canvas for two days, often spending hours just staring at it, imaging what it could be. 

 

When it came time to placing brush to canvas the … flowed (creative) from the centre point outwards, the female object of desire and her sexual pull, which first drove me to rip down the branches of the tree in the back garden of my family home, the punishment I received for doing so, and yet the lack of remorse I felt, the fellow (desire seekers) at the bottom all pushing in and out of their fruits and masterpieces struggling to give birth to their creations. My father’s grave stone in the top right, the ultimate quest in enlightenment (guiding) over the proceedings and beckoning with a divine light. All flowed out in one sitting and 

 

I find art to be a place of unification for people

 

“If you’ve got a common interest nobody gives a damn where you come from or who you are” 

 

 


At four years old I approached the large pine tree in my backyard, in the years prior I climbed it to impress my friend Laura Simmons, (.. - 2016) we were born in the same hospital in beds next to each other, she was one hour older than me and would come over frequently as our mother's were close friends.

 

 

 

Cairan is pressed by the notions that our generation finds ourselves, a kind of definitive individuality and separateness, not only to be a creative person but to be living in such a competitive world. In many ways that underlying ruthlessness of Los Angeles is treated lightly in a way that only laughing at the desperateness can show a truer look at the situation. This is something that just Emirates from Paul T Murray, he's very upfront about his brutality. I came to see his red faced anger as a form of love by the end of it all, I remember at the wrap party he started yelling at me about something that happened on set, I just started laughing and gave him a big hug, he started laughing too and I felt we understood eachother in that moment in a closer bond than I could get the opportunity to understand in most men.


 

There did however pervade in what perhaps was the absence of the film in my life in the following year, each day I woke up on underlying sense of meaninglessness which was everything but my experience up until that point which even my grandfather the inventor and venture capitalist of West Australian mining corporations, would announce to me, I admire your self-belief. I've heard it said elsewhere that 'Champions have an unshakable self-belief in either themselves or an ideology. I think for me it was 40-60 toward an unshakable belief in The Method, what Method Acting provides in. Very direct way which other forms of faith do not, is a kind of verifiability of results, that is immediate and self-evaluative, the stronger the connection to the substance of what one is going through as an actor, the better the performance, always. The rest is a matter of going through the flames of experience to understand when one is and when one is not connected.


This is something that just emanates from Paul T Murray, he's very upfront about his brutality. I came to see his red faced anger as a form of love by the end of it all, I remember at the wrap party he started yelling at me about something that happened on set, I just started laughing and gave him a big hug, he started laughing too and I felt we understood eachother in that moment in a closer bond than I could get the opportunity to understand in most men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Painting

At four years old I approached the large pine tree in my backyard, in the years prior I climbed it to impress my friend Laura Simmons, (.. - 2016) we were born in the same hospital in beds next to each other, she was one hour older than me and would come over frequently as our mother's were close friends.

The search beyond the pursuit of capital is so much

Moments before we got on the plane I received a call from Jane Berliner, I was officially in the stable at Authentic Talent. 

I think as my father before me did that a Kingdom Of Heaven is stronger rewarded in the imagination and manifested in art than in hope of an everlasting, we are blessed with consciousness, that Kingdom can be found within us and a moment in that thought or in a dream can be that eternity we seek.